Six Essential Truths of Biblical Saving Faith: (Part 2) The Depravity of Man
[ Part 1 of the series, an introduction, can be found here. ]
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44
What is true of the devil is true of those under his dominion. All mankind, in Adam, is depraved and possessed by the spirit of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-3).
Mankind, in Adam, opposes God and His revealed will in the written Word of God. It is their nature, having chosen to be independent of God, free from His rule over them, to do so. It is the nature of a vulture to eat meat. Put him in a wheat field with only wheat and no meat and he will starve to death. Mankind, cut off from the source of life, the rule of God, is left to walk in the valley of the shadow of death all his days. He is at home here. It is his nature to be at home in earthiness away from God. He lives his finite earthly life enjoying the pleasures afforded by the things of this fallen world.
Depraved, controlled by a fallen nature, having no spark of divinity, no burning coal of goodness to fan into flame, man is under the rule of the devil and left to be his own authority in all things. Every man practices what is right in his own eyes and he thinks he is the soul determinate of what is right.
This was the tragedy of Pelagius and Arminius. In exalting man they jettisoned God and His sovereign control over the whole of His creation. They, in cowardly fashion, without respect for truth except as they perceived it, promoted a heresy which leaves man hopeless and helplessly doomed. These men and their offspring are today confined to a worldly order devoid of any heavenly wisdom with their satanic lies.
In discussing this essential truth of the depravity of mankind, I will use the acrostic whose letters spell out the word TULIP. Such serves as a guide to set forth the five essentials I want to cover. The term and the subsequent definition of this acrostic spelled out is known and hated by the enemies of Christ under the definition of “Calvinism.” The demonizing of Calvinism, as embodied in the acrostic, is but the demonizing of the teaching of Christ and His Apostles and is to present the essentials of the Biblical faith, as taught by Paul and in all Scripture, as nothing short of a lie.
The first letter of the acrostic is ‘T’ and it stands for total depravity. Radical depravity might be a better term to express the state of men in Adam, but I will stick with the former and seek to explain what the Bible teaches regarding these essential truths necessary if men are to be saved.
In one act of disobedience (Romans 5:12,18), resulting in all of mankind of being not only deprived of fellowship with God, but under His just condemnation from their very birth and entrance into this world. The holy and just judicial consequence of disobedience, clearly known by Adam and violated, brought about a radical alteration in the very nature of mankind. He fell from the potential of dependence on and fellowship with God, to independence from God and dependence upon the devil, as John declares in chapter 8 verse 44. He would not, according to Psalm 2, have God rule over him but chose that the devil should rule.
The rule of Satan over mankind in Adam is described in Romans 1:18-32. Here is a clear description of the depraved nature of mankind set forth in no uncertain terms. The glory of man’s creation is corrupted by sin beyond human help or hope. Not only is man, in Adam, in continuous rebellion against God’s will and the rule of Christ, but he revels in his disobedience and encourages others to do the same.
If God had not provided some restraints for this fallen man and this in the interest of harvesting out of mankind a people who would submit to His rule over their lives through Jesus Christ, mankind would have long ago destroyed himself. The wisdom of God has provided restraints through the fear of judgments of the law, the moral and ethical rules of family and society. The level of fear of condemnation at the hands of men holds the level of violence down in many but not in all. This being absent, blood would run more freely and man’s nature would destroy others to satisfy self.
Total depravity does not mean that all men are as outwardly as violent as their hearts desire. They are not as wicked outwardly as they would be if there were no restraints. The weakness of restraints in government and family, of the teaching of no absolute moral and ethical values, opens the door for the monster in the heart of mankind to be loosed to freely express his hatred for God, His Christ and for his fellow man, especially the true Christian or child of God.
Nothing so clearly describes this depravity of man as does the Spirit of God through Paul in Romans 3:9-18. Let me try and sum up this depraved state of mankind in which all men exist [apart from Christ], by birth, since the fall in Adam.
All mankind is devoid of any righteousness. There is not to be found a single righteous man among those in Adam. There is not one individual who shows any intelligence of moral or ethical truths, not one who shows any desire for fellowship with or knowledge of God. They have all departed the strait paths of righteous living. They are like milk gone bad. In all of mankind, in Adam, there is not one single man who does good. It is not his nature to do so.
Wickedness manifest itself in all their lives. Their throat is like an open grave which harbors the decaying corpse of this fallen nature. The poison sac of the asp lies under the tongue and is spewed forth from the lips in the practice of flattering deceit.. Bitterness and cursing is the way of these poor souls. Depraved man runs to commit murder and their paths are filled with destruction and misery. They don’t know the paths of peace. They always live in a war zone. The passage sums up this depraved nature by declaring that there is no fear, no reverence, for God which governs or controls any of their actions.
In Adam, the whole of mankind has sinned and is justly condemned to this chosen depraved nature. The only hope for a new nature is to be found through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ. There is no hope outside of Him. The old nature is incapable, having no desire, of doing that which pleases God. Those who depend on a works religion for salvation are forever condemned by the Word of God.
In light of this depraved state, it is no wonder that such men rally to defend those who live in wickedness. It is no mystery that they who so sin would also encourage others to do likewise by condoning immoral action by our leadership. When the masses in America support wickedness they only reveal their depraved humanity. Remember and beware of truth or morality being defined by either the majority or minority of depraved man. Truth is defined by the revealed Word of God. There is no consolation in crying that one is human. Such a declaration only identifies depraved wickedness, it does not excuse it before man and certainly not before God. It is not the party spirit that is at the root of this protective shield of sinful man, but rather a corrupted nature that finds it strange and against man’s nature to do otherwise.
Failure to accept man’s depraved nature as taught here, is to close the door to man’s perceived need of being redeemed by a Sovereign God. It is to deny the biblical doctrine of the dominion of sin and create a false sense of security which can leave mankind in the grips of Satan, the master of deceit and of death.